The God Of All Comfort, Ron Ward
THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT
Passage: 2Corinthians 1:1~11
Key verse: 9b
INTRODUCTION TO SECOND CORINTHIANS
The Apostle Paul left Ephesus shortly after writing 1 Corinthians. His life was in grave danger in Ephesus because of an uproar caused by an idol maker whose business had been hurt by the rapid spread of the gospel (Ac 19-20). He made a painful visit to Corinth (2Co 1:23;2:1). It was painful because he dealt uncompromisingly with some practical problems. The Corinthians did not resent his rebuking visit. They repented and wholeheartedly supported Paul's plan to take an offering to Jerusalem. He wrote Romans while in Corinth, and after Jerusalem, planned to go to Rome. 2 Corinthians, written from Macedonia a few months later, is full of love and basic appreciation for the faith and obedience of the Corinthians, although some of the problems he had talked about in 1 Corinthians were still there. This letter follows the visit, and is in response to good news from Corinth brought by Titus. Paul is writing to express his joy at their repentance, and to encourage them to finish what they had started in preparing an offering for the poverty-stricken Christians in Jerusalem. He also defends his apostleship and answers his critics. He will visit them on God's time-table. Meanwhile, he is sending Titus back to them with a brother who is praised by the church (8:16-18), for the purpose of getting the offering the Corinthians had promised.
Paul is like their father. He shares with them his personal pain and struggles, and the comfort of Christ.
1. Christ's overflowing comfort (1-7)
Paul wrote with apostolic authority. Timothy was with him. After greeting them, he praised the God and Father of Jesus, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Only those who suffer for Jesus' sake can know the God of comfort. Paul looked at the world through Christ's eyes and shared in Christ's suffering for a lost world. He did not avoid suffering nor did he try to protect his sheep from suffering--rather, he sought and received God's comfort, and he encouraged them to learn patient endurance and receive Christ's overflowing comfort. This is the way to grow in Christ-like character (Ro 5:3-4).
2. That we might rely on God (8-11)
He was almost killed in Asia (Ephesus--Ac 19); but through this Paul learned to rely on God who raises the dead (1Co 15:31-32). He learned resurrection faith, and he learned to trust in God who reveals his strength and gives his comfort to those who depend on him.
Prayer: Lord, help me know the depth of your love and comfort, and share it with others.
One Word: Rely on the God of comfort